Friday, 25 December 2009

2009; a year which began in silence, graded into prolonged musical and literary activity and, true to form, faded slowly into deep wintry occupation. Live highlights included Machinefabriek and Greg Haines at Jesus Club, Philip Jeck playing solo and as part of the International Turntable Orchestra, Leif Elggren, Martin Howse and friends as part of Breakthrough Berlin, Cawa Sorix in Paris, Alva Noto's unitxt at CTM, Sons of Noel and Adrian in a Friedrichshain apartment. Away from music, Otto Roessler and Jacob Kierkegaard gave inspiring lectures on the LHC and singing sands respectively.

Lucky enough to play over twenty shows this year, I had real highlights in the now evicted Brunnenstrasse, at Maria am Ostbahnhof, out the back of Staalplaat (three times), in Paris for the launch of Beautiful Was The Time and at Echolalia in Newcastle with an all-star cast of dictaphone and tape impresarios. To be able to finish the year with a UK tour was amazing; Poldr and I met so many amazing and enthusiastic people and we're really excited about the subsequent documentation and release.

In music, my year was soundtracked in part by Arthur Russell's pop diamonds, Machinefabriek's wintry collages, Fennesz' black seas of static, the expansive hopelands of Emeralds, Natural Snow Buildings's folk and noise narratives, the reincarnation blues of Grails and unfolding repetitions of The Fun Years (still), monolithic dimensions of Sunn O)))', tonal meditations from ocdc, William Basinski's shifting etherialisms in 92982, DOOM's critical flows, and inevitably, the intricacies and resonances of the new noise expressionism of Poldr. The tragic passing of Jack Rose will not be forgotten.

The year's reading was dominated by Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow, but I also found significant departures via Danilo Kiš' Hourglass, Jack London's The Star Rover, Patrick Hamilton's Hangover Square, A Dirty War by Anna Politkovskaya, Europeana by Patrik Ouredník and J.M.Coetzee's A Diary of a Bad Year. Lev Manovich and Pipilotti Rist were visually introduced to me with significance – The Wire stole hours.

Thanks to all who helped, inspired and provoked. Best wishes for 2010.

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